We elected "Tricky Dick" twice. The Clippers are in the playoffs, and now Mo Rivera is out for the season. And that is what I have decided to put pen to pad to talk to you about today. Mo Rivera, to borrow a phrase from the movie I already reference earlier was a "constant" for the Yankees. With him out for the season, and possibly for good, the Yankees will begin to see how the other half lives.
Over the past 15 years, there has been no more dominant closer, and possibly pitcher, in all of baseball than Mariano Rivera. When the 8th or 9th inning rolls around in the Bronx, hitters have expected to feed on the splinters of their own bats from a steady diet of 95mph cutters. 608 saves and one torn ACL later, the Yankees are now in search of a new closer. No doubt a crucial cog in the Yankees winning machine over all these years has been the fact that the Sandman is holding any lead in the 9th inning. Except for 2002, Rivera has never really been hurt and the saves have piled up.
Without Mo to put the clamps down in the 9th inning, the Yankees will finally start to understand what all 29 other teams feel like. The 9th inning is no sure thing. I know they have several solid bullpen pitchers waiting in the wings, but let's be honest, there will never be another closer as lights out as Mo. It will be interesting to see how many games the Yankees fritter away without the man they have counted on since the mid-90s. More pressure will be applied to the bullpen; and the starters, who are shaky to begin with, will have to go deeper into games.
Getting down to brass tacks, I think that the loss of Mo Rivera will end up costing the Yankees 7 or 8 wins and could have a significant effect on their playoff chances. So Yankees fans, get ready to feel what the Phillies fans felt with Brad Lidge in 2009, or what Red Sox fans feel like already this year. It is your turn now. Less Mo, mo problems.